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Police summon Byo activist over public violence charges

Police in Bulawayo have summoned Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo, to appear in court for his alleged involvement in a 2019 assault case where residents besieged the city hall to confront some city councillors over poor service delivery.

But the local pressure group argues these summons have nothing to do with the alleged assault case but much to do with the pressure group’s recent move to honour victims of the Gukurahundi events.

The assault case referred to by the police occurred after a failed attempt by a faction of councillors fronted by former Bulawayo deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami to suspend Town Clerk, Christopher Dube, on allegations of mismanaging council funds, abuse of office and dereliction of duty, a move which led to an ugly confrontation between these officials.

When residents heard about this confrontation they moved to “discipline these councillors for failing to respect the City’s Town Clerk” accussing them for failing to deliver services.

At that time, Fuzwayo described the move by Kambarami and company, as one motivated by tribal agendas.

In an interview with CITE, Ibhetshu LikaZulu’s Information and Publicity Secretary, Gifford Sibanda, said the summons were a weapon to ‘punish’ Fuzwayo for his involvement in championing justice for Gukurahundi victims.

“This has nothing to do with a 2019 case, as you can tell with the time frame involved. This has everything to do with the work that Ibhetshu LikaZulu has been doing under the able leadership of our secretary-general Mbuso Fuzwayo especially after the Emkhonyeni and the Bhalagwe memorials,” he said.

Last week Ibhetshu LikaZulu held a memorial service for 22 villagers from Emkhonyeni in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North who were burnt to death by the Fifth Brigade on March 16, 1983 – during the Gukurahundi atrocities.

The pressure group also erected a tombstone for the 21 women and one man.

This Tuesday, Ibhetshu LikaZulu proceeded to Bhalagwe in Kezi, Maphisa, Matabeleland South to erect another tombstone for Gukurahundi victims but it was stolen that night.

A tombstone had been erected at the same site in 2019 but was destroyed by suspected state agents.

Sibanda said the use of the law against progressive forces was not a new strategy but the same one used to oppress people.

“We don’t doubt Fuzwayo;s innocence and we hope political machinations will not blind the eyes of justice. Using the law against people isn’t a new method, it’s the same strategy which was used during Gukurahundi that robbed us of the likes of Lookout Masuku and infringed on the rights of the likes of  Sydney Malunga,” he said.

“What will be on trial on the first of June is the voice for Gukurahundi justice and the employment of lawfare will not succeed. Surely this is one hurdle we will overcome towards attaining justice for the Gukurahundi genocide.”

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